Category Archives: Life Life

Southern Comfort XVI

This past weekend Appalachian State University’s climbing team hosted their spring climbing competition, Southern Comfort XVI.

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It was a total blast! I haven’t competed in ages, and I thought it would be a fun excuse to visit all my friends in Boone. I didn’t climb as well as I had hoped, but placed #1 in Women’s Advanced and came home with two sweet Organic bags.

omg bags
OMG BAGS!

When I first got into the gym and started feeling out the problems, I’ll admit that I experienced a fair share of frustration at so many climbs being height-dependent. In general, I feel there is a lack of understanding in gyms about how short a “short person” is. Perhaps setters just don’t believe a person can really be so short? I understand sometimes larger moves can be compensated for with tricky beta, and sometimes it’s just my fault for not being strong enough. But especially at indoor comps, it can feel like being a child on one of those roller coasters when you just don’t meet the height requirement and you have to stand by and watch all your taller friends having the time of their lives.

Just as a quick ruler idea from Drexel: when setting a move that is not intended to be a dyno, check the span from one fingertip to the opposite elbow. This may seem ludicrous, but that is actually my span compared to his.

height
THIS ^ IS MY LIFE!

Accepting the fact that I would not be able to do some problems, I decided to give everything a three-go limit, starting with the hardest problems and working my way down. I’ve learned from previous comps that sieging is not the way to go. It quickly became apparent that all the advanced problems and most of the higher level intermediates were not feasible. I felt my capacity to let this get to me. I felt the tension and despair in other climbers. I saw other shorter girls getting upset. I actually saw one girl crying. But I didn’t want to go there. It’s not “real.” It’s just a fun gym competition. I forced myself to reframe the situation and told myself that it was my attachment to a certain outcome that was the problem, not the outcome itself. If the ultimate goal is fun or happiness, then winning a comp should really just be a middleman. Which means it is completely arbitrary. I shouldn’t need to “win” to have fun and feel good about myself.

I had left the competition early to answer my phone, went back inside to turn in my scorecard, and then finished up dealing with some really ridiculous situations going on back home — one of the plights of being an on-call therapist is that I have to stop whatever I am doing, 24/7, and deal with a client who was, in this situation, pooping all over the place as a power move against their parents. And then I got another call about a person trying to kill herself and had to somehow wave my magic wand and fix everything.

Sometimes I wonder why on earth I would choose to work in the mental health field, especially with high-level children and their families. Why didn’t I just stay in the minivan with Drexel, where everything was clean and calm and free of feces?

why god

I took a walk to clear my head, ate lunch, cuddled my puppy, and still ended up scoring a front row seat to watch finals. I got super excited watching Melise, Rose and Kelsey cruising through all the Women’s Finals problems. I appreciated that they switched up the format from top 3 coed to having both the top 3 males and top 3 females compete. Everyone took their seats and the heat was on.

Southern Comfort Girls
You can’t see it, but that dude on the right was super jealous of Melise’s guns (do you have a permit for those?).
socoboys
Carter was able to make that cool face in the split second after noticing I was take a photo. That takes some mad skillz.

The highlight of the finals was most definitely catching Melise flying through the air in slow-motion and completing potentially the hardest single move of the day:

When everything was said and done, it was a great competition and a great weekend. Everyone went home with something cool, whether or not they placed, because of the insane amount of raffle prizes. On top of that, we ate Cha Da Thai for dinner two nights in a row, some ladies took the plunge and bought themselves a pStyle, AND we (minus Carson) had a really nice group hug slash kumbayah circle to say goodbye. Already looking forward to our next trip back to Boone!

pstyle
Photo stolen from http://cruxcrush.com. This could be you!

Comment below and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win your very own pStyle!!!!

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Dik-diks, Dixon, and Dilly-Dallying

Drexel is still on the road, doing his best to keep the cross country crimpers alive and crushing projects left and right. He claims his fingers are so sore from climbing that he’s unable to write any of his own entries, so here’s a quick list of his latest sends: Osiris V10, Bubba Gump V10, Bread Loaf Factory V10, and the most epic, Western Gold V11.

I mainly know about these sends because I’ll be at work, in my “big kid” job as a therapist, in a session with a client who is yelling or crying or throwing things, when my phone will blow up with ten texts consisting primarily of exclamation points and excited emoji faces. My first thought when I hear the continuous earthquake vibrations of my phone is, “Uh oh, someone else is in crisis!” so I’ll find some excuse to check the screen. Lo and behold, Drexel has triumphed again! “I did it! I did it! I did it!” he texted.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to join Drexel, Carson and Jeff on a lovely outing to Dixon School Boulders. If you’ve never heard of this place, check out this neat video starring Zach and the Bakker boys talking about Dixon and sending some of the classics. As Zach says in the video, it’s definitely worth checking out, spending a day amongst the trees and rocks on a beautiful, quiet mountainside with gorgeous views.

Dixon boulders is a small bouldering area owned by Crowders Mountain State Park near Kings Mountain, NC. It’s maybe 1.5 hrs from Asheville, 2.5 hrs from Boone. It’s a metaconglomerate rock, which might mean nothing to climbers except that the grain size and quality changes drastically from one end of the boulder field to the other. There are maybe 40-50 total climbs, with only 20-25 being high quality and a couple big projects still waiting for a strong climber to give them a name.

dixon

We first warmed up at a large chunk of rock containing countless fun v0-v3s and also a tricky barndoor problem courtesy of Ian Rogers called Barnyard Banshees v5. From there we moved up the hill to Classic Overhang v3 and Beelzebub Roof v5. Zach makes this climb look easy in the video and Jeph flashed the pants off of it, but I struggled pretty hard to gain momentum to reach certain holds and still have enough power to clamp down on the pebbles up top. I flailed a bit, grunted, sighed, told the group we could move on, started to pack up, and then had a sudden burst of angry determination that I was able to ride to a final send. WHOOSH. Sometimes there really is power in a “last go, best go” gritty determination.

beelzebub
Image captured from Dixon School Boulder video of Zach on Beelzebub v5.

We tromped our way up and over to one of the best boulders at Dixon, Atlas v7. It starts with a really fun traverse leading up to a tricky face slab. Lil Bakker wistfully projected this boulder back in the day, and now he’s a lean mean climbing machine who eats v7s for breakfast.

Atlas v7
Drexel showing us all how to gently pat-pat-pat a teensy widdle crimp. “There there…. there there….”
jeph
Jeph claims he doesn’t do a lot of yoga, but he hand-foot matched like a regular downward dogger and said, “Namaste? Nah, mus’ go!” as he flowed to the top of Atlas v7.

 

For the record, I have never felt so supported in my entire climbing life as I did on Atlas. After everyone else sent, Carson, Jeph and Drexel became the world’s best support crew. They showered me with compliments and offered wild incentives that tapped into my deepest desires. Here I was on the brink of complete life satisfaction, and…. nothing. This might be my biggest deathbed regret.

Next up was Drexel’s biggest project, the terrifyingly tall Leaning Tower v8.  It’s arguably one of the best lines at the park, but is also extremely tall and intimidating and has a very committing last move. In the end, the fear factor was too much. This is a really good example of how sometimes climbing is more mental than physical – if this move was only a couple feet above the ground, it would be a relatively easy dyno. Take that same dyno and move it 20+ feet off the ground and that’s another story.

tower
Even scrolling through the photo takes a long time!

 

We ended the day on Venom v5 and Venom Direct v6, completing Jeph’s Dixon circuit experience.  We marched back to the Crowders Mountain State Park parking lot with smiles on our faces. We all agreed that the pebbles hurt, but our skin looked a lot better than it had before. My gym skin definitely needed some good pebbly scraping to get it ready for next weekend’s trip to Rumbling Bald.

Back at home, we had a lovely night with Drexel and Carson’s family, even when arguments got a bit heated. I felt bad, but we even pulled his Nana into the argument. In the end, it was hard to find a clear winner of “What is the cutest baby animal?” We’ve narrowed it down to five top contenders: Dik-Dik, Slow Loris, Wallaby, Wolf, or Panther. Please vote in the poll below so we can figure this out once and for all.

 

dik-dik
My vote was for Dik-Dik! It’s tiny, it’s awkward, it has oddly tiny ankles, what’s not to like?
dik-dik2
I won’t lie. I’m biased. So Dik-dik times TWO!

 

slowloris
Adult Slow Loris look like Pokemon.
slowloris
SEE!?!?!? POKEMON!!!!
wallaby
Willaby wallaby woo, an elephant sat on you!
wolf
Peekaboo, peekaroooooo!
panther
TIL: Even black panthers have spots.

 

 

 

Drexel’s Time in Boone (and my time with chocolate)

New video out. Thanks to Organic for the support, and all the wonderful Booners. http://vimeo.com/113348945 Drexel is having a blast climbing in Chattanooga on the daily, kicking it with Mike and a chiweenie. I’m jealous (about both those things), but too busy coloring feelings with adorable little demon children and their families (yay “real” jobs). This upcoming winter break should see an increase in climbing, psyche, and trips with all our friends to Rocktown, LRC and maybe even Rumbling Bald (Dec. 13th Triple Crown!).

chiweenie
Chihuahua + weiner dog = chiweenie!?

p.s. Good news for all you Asheville climbers: The new Chocolate Lounge just opened, and it’s easy jogging distance from Climbmax downtown. So set yourself a goal of climbing all the v3s — I mean 3 stars — er, I mean dots? Yes. Dots. Climb all the dots, and then get yourself a hot cup of salted caramel liquid truffle. (Or just skip the climbing and go straight to the chocolate – teehee!) … (You know who you are.)

truffle
Mmm, every little spoonful from that little baby spoon was like a majestic swirling field of flowers and unicorns dancing and hugging my mouth.

Recap!

So yes, it’s been over three months since the last post. THREE MONTHS! Whatever could we be doing instead of throwing ourselves at real rocks all day, huddling in a minivan every night, and crossing the country in search of the best carousel ride??? Well, that’s a good question…

1) We’ve been living and working in good ole Asheville (“Ashevegas”), the hotspot for local beer, vegan gluten-free restaurants, ridiculously happy well-rounded children, and chakra-opening crystals.

2) We have been climbing as much as possible at Iron Palm Bouldering, our favorite indoor gym in Asheville. We’ve also met some super awesome climber folks who CRUSH and also just happen to love chocolate and puppies as much as I do. Speaking of…

3) We adopted a PUPPY!!!! His name is Rumi. He likes tummy rubs, licking inside of ears, and will trot around the house with his water bowl in his mouth when it is empty. Yes, he is the smartest, cutest, bestest puppy in the whole wide world.

The cutest
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” -Rumi

 

Those are the main points. I won’t bore you with details about all the 7 Wonders games, tea times, dinner parties, hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the day we managed to boil, peel, squeeze and freeze over 50 tomatoes that a farmer gave me after I volunteered with them for a day.

Starting on Monday, Drexel will return to the wonderful, magical vagabond life. I’ll be holding down the fort in Asheville with Rumi and my big-kid job as a family therapist. So dear readers, prepare for a slew of extremely climber-centric posts as rock after rock crumbles beneath Drexel’s large manly phallanges. I apologize to our mothers who probably still think it’s silly to grunt up a rock face when you can just as easily walk around, but I’m sure all of our friends will be full of that dirty P-word.

(Yes. Psyched.)

I’ll be meeting up with Drex in Arkansas around Thanksgiving, and it would be sooo cool to see all of our cross-country friends again at HCR and Cowell. We also look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Triple Crown events!!! SIGN UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!!

  • October 4: Hound Ears
  • October 25: Stone Fort
  • November 22: Horse Pens 40
  • December 13: Rumbling Bald

Food for Thought: Power Crepes!

Crepes? Check.

Power? Check.

With just three ingredients, you too can create your very own delicious and healthy pre-or-post climbing snack.

I’ll make this real easy, since I know you’re getting antsy just thinking of being in a kitchen.

doge

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (ideally, but mine were still a bit green and that was a-okay)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

That’s it. You can add more stuff and it should be fine. Throw in a dash of cinnamon, maybe a scoop of protein powder, splash of orange juice, some blueberries or strawberries. Heck, you could probably get away with a handful of kale in there. Go crazy. Just the three above ingredients will make 8-10 crepes/pancakes, so more ingredients = MOAR CREPES! And that’s always a good thing.

Get down with the monster mash. (It was a graveyard smash.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Throw everything in one big bowl [see above photo if you don’t fully understand this step]. Mash the nanners with a fork. As you press down, focus on good wrist technique. (If your wrist gets sore, you can give in and use a blender, but we’ll judge you brah.)

2. Drop a nice dollop onto a hot, greased skillet. I used coconut oil and it was tasty, but other oils or butter would be fine. Cook until each side is lightly browned.

3. Make a big fat stack and eat it just like that, or cover it will all sorts of yumminess, like maple syrup, honey, yogurt, peanut butter, nutella, fresh fruit, etc.

banana crepes
This is a photo from the original recipe.
P1050055
This is what mine actually looked like…

NUTRITION:  If you made 10 pancakes and only used the ingredients of  4 eggs, 2 bananas, and 1/2 cup oats, then each tiny crepe would have about:

  • 82 calories, 4g protein, 1.5g fiber, and good doses of vitamins A/B/C, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • Add a cup of greek yogurt on top, and that’s an additional 20g protein! Plus calcium.

Rocks for Research

R4R

Last week we volunteered with Rocks for Research at the Inner Peaks Climbing Center in Charlotte, NC.

Rocks For Research is an amazingly fun and interesting rock climbing festival put on to raise money for the Type I diabetes through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Last year, the event raised $10,000 for diabetes research! (YAY!)

The volunteering day started out by casually eating lunch right next to Jimmy Webb and Daniel Woods (yeah, no big deal…). Once we were assigned to a volunteering shift, we were free to explore the event and climb to our heart’s content (again, alongside folks like the above mentioned, and also Lisa Rands, Kai, Matt Bosley, Courtney Woods… maybe you’ve heard of them?).

I pretended
I pretended to take photos of Alexa climbing, but really I just wanted a shot of Drexel joking around with Nate, Jimmy and Daniel. Sneaky sneaky!
Thumbs up for working hard!
Thumbs up for working hard! (Or hardly working?)
rocks07
D. CO is PSYCHED.

Alexa, Rose and I were are scheduled to help belay in the “Try Climbing” area for first-timers. Most attendees of this event were experienced climbers, so we spent a good portion of our time improving our headstands, but there were a handful of kids who were really psyched on scaling the wall! I’m not usually a softie for these kinds of things, but I definitely felt my heart clench when one boy looked up at me with these big brown eyes and told me proudly that he had Type I diabetes and how excited he was to be at this event with his friends.

headstands
On her way to greatness/straightness.

Alexa got a good work-out from belaying one boy who inexhaustibly begged to climb “just one more time” over twenty times! Seriously. I guess kids don’t build up lactic acid(?) or something, because he was INSANELY PSYCHED.

Alexa
Alexa became pro at helping this boy into his harness 20+ times.
rocks05
Having so much FUN!

At one point I brought this group of boys to the Evolv table, where Melise and Carter were super helpful sorting through their demo shoes to find pairs small enough for the boys to try on. I could tell the boys were really excited to wear “real climbing shoes” instead of the sneakers and crocs they had on.

Finally came the moment we had all been waiting for: the Climbing Showcase. All the pro climbers and a group of local climbers (“Pros and Joes”) teamed up to see who could get the most points by completing the hardest climbs. It was so incredible to be able to see our climbing heroes working out boulder problems right in front of our eyes. It was interesting noticing that all these strong climbers had distinctly different methods and styles for sending a problem. Jimmy and Daniel are very different sizes, so Daniel was more dynamic and had to rely more on finger strength, while Jimmy had “more raw power than anyone I’ve ever seen” (says Drexel). And I would have no idea that Kai, climbing alongside these guys and crushing a v10, was only 14 years old.

rocks10
Kai showing remarkable beta-savviness as he works a v11.

When the climbing was over, there were some raffle prizes handed out, goodies were thrown into our awaiting hands (we all got some new Giddy chapsticks!), silent auction winners were finalized, and then we all settled in to watch each of the pro climbers give a presentation that included some never-before-seen video footage and a short interview with a local radio personality (who had clearly never heard of rock climbing, but he got an A for effort). I especially loved the documentary about Kai’s life and the entertaining slideshow narration by Lisa Rands.

Our day ended long after the sun had gone down. It was a full and wonderful day. We can’t wait to volunteer again next year and hope to see all of your beautiful shining faces!

Following the golden path

The juicy green mountains have called us back to the southeast. It’s crazy to think that we were across the country in Lake Tahoe only two weeks ago. We’ve been following our whims, trusting that whatever feels right is probably legitimately “right” for us. And so far, it’s worked out! After one last day of climbing in Sugar Pines, we departed Tahoe and made our way east. We swung through Albuquerque and saw the awesome Michaela and Paul (climbers we met in Joe’s Valley), and still made it to Boone in time for our friends’ graduation weekend. The warm weather is here, but we still had a fun day at Blowing Rock greasing off of our old projects.

Our plans changed somehow, and we decided to move to Asheville (versus Chattanooga). Why? (a) It’s closer to Boone for weekend climbing trips or visiting friends. (b) It won’t be AS hot and humid during the summer months at Chatty. And (c) I should be getting my LPC-A in the state of North Carolina in a matter of weeks, while all I could do in TN is something minimum wagey. Oh, and (d) we’ll be a lot closer to our friend Jesse’s farm in Fletcher, NC where we can play with bunnies and fry up some fresh-caught catfish.

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BUNNIES!!! Num num num. They get a huge pile of greens to munch on every single day.

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